I have an odd relationship with Food; I am rather fond of it but as one of those women perpetually trying to lose weight, I find it a bit of a curse too. Today I decided to write a piece for Blog Action Day, which meant I had to sit down and really think about Food and to be honest that doesn’t happen often. As a result, I am reminded that my relationship with Food is a massive privilege and my standpoint a hugely selfish one.
For example, I love a good dinner, but am put off by fancy restaurants, partly because I like to know who is cooking my Food, but mostly because I like it fresh and simple (I have never understood why people get so excited about French cuisine); my idea of heaven is a bowl of spaghetti tossed in fresh spinach and tomatoes (again fresh, not the tinned things) cooked in several cloves of garlic and topped with enough parmesan (fresh, of course) to cover the plate twice over. I am a vegetarian who has never eaten fish, partly because I could never get my head around eating something that lived in the sea in which I swam, but mostly because it smells disgusting; I haven’t eaten meat in well over a decade having only ever picked at it before, again because I couldn’t get my head around eating something that had once breathed the same air as me and frankly if it hadn’t been for sausages and living too long in Germany, meat would have been off the menu a lot earlier. I don’t really care whether you choose to eat meat in front of me or not, I’m not going to get all Morrissey about it, but I do tend to think that if you can’t kill it, you shouldn’t be eating it.
I’ve always maintained that with the exception of my aversion to eating flesh, I’m not a fussy eater. On reading the above however, I sound like a spoilt brat. And as far as Food is concerned, I am. There are plenty of people on this planet who would find my Food preferences abhorrent – not because of what I choose to eat, but for the simple fact that I am able to choose. I spent way too much time taking that privilege for granted.
I have spent a large portion of this weekend in the garden, preparing my tiny piece of green space for the autumn and coming winter months. Today it was about pulling up the last of the root vegetables and cutting back the last raspberry canes along with the shrubs that have now finally stopped flowering. Every time I’m in the garden I have a little robin that follows me about – the compost heap is a treasure trove of Food for him and while he was twittering away at me today I tried to negotiate a deal whereby he has access to all the worms in my compost heap today so long as he eats all of next year’s snails – we’ll see how that went next June. All very Disney I must say.
I live in a terrace house in East London and all the houses along my street have gardens; I get quite upset by people who don’t use theirs arguing that having a garden in London, albeit a small one, is indeed a privilege and not one that should be wasted. That being upset is more about green space though, it’s not about having space to grow Food. For certain people on this planet, having as much land as I do, fertile land at that, would feed their family all year round and some. I hadn’t really sat down and thought about that until today and I feel utterly ashamed.
I use my garden for a variety of things, from roses to beetroot, from lavender to tomatoes and all the herbs you can imagine. The thing is, if my beetroot fails, I can just pop up to the supermarket and buy some more. If Food I’ve grown goes off before I have had a chance to eat it, then it goes on the compost heap, that way I can feel all good about myself for not wasting anything. Growing vegetables for me is a bit of a hobby – the fact that it is a hobby and not a necessity makes it a huge luxury. The fact that my tomato crop this year has been a bit of a disappointment is not going to do any more than disappoint me, I can still feed myself.
Perhaps it’s time to put things into perspective; I am one of the luckiest people on this planet, I don’t have to think about Food that often, but maybe I will from now on.